Doncaster Dooms SPL
22/05/2012 1,293 Comments
Neil Doncaster’s intelligence-insulting interview on SSN this week places another few pieces of the jigsaw together as to how plans are shaping up to deal with Rangers’ corporate failure. Other blogs have already dissected this interview very well, so I will not dwell on the details. Instead, we will look at what is shaping up as the plan “to fix” Scottish football.
As we have discussed for several weeks, Doncaster wants Rangers in the SPL regardless of how much they owe HMRC or other football clubs. He wants them in the SPL regardless of whether cheating on a massive scale has occurred or not. Doncaster’s attempt to bluster his way to getting acceptance for the idea that a CVA and a newco-Rangers are the same thing is just stunning in its gall.
Doncaster is a key player in this dance. Therefore, I assume that he has been made aware of the Duff & Phelps plan. His interview this week was simply a crude attempt to blunt the impact of any accusations that might be contained within the BBC Scotland documentary to be aired on Wednesday night at 8pm. Either through an incredible degree of cynicism or playing the role of useful idiot, Doncaster’s cheer leading is key to a plan that will do more to destroy the Scottish Premier League than any loss of income from the temporary absence of a Rangers-type club could ever do.
One must assume that Doncaster is actively delaying the report on the dual contracts. It would take less than twenty minutes for any lawyer to see that there is a prima facie case against Rangers FC. Demonstrating a prima facie does not require looking at every piece of evidence or even getting close to providing proof. It is literally a check that “on the face of it” there appears to be something behind the allegations. Doncaster denies that there is a “go slow” instruction on this investigation. In the fullness of time, it will become clear that something is amiss.
The law firm of Harper McLeod have been hired by the SPL to investigate if a prima facie case against Rangers on the dual contract issue exists. Let me help Harper McLeod out a little.
On 28 July 2001, Rangers played Aberdeen at Pittodrie. Rangers won the game 3-0. Making his league debut that day was a German who would later go on to become General Manager of Bayern Munich, Christian Nerlinger. He also scored one of the goals. That game against Aberdeen marked the first game where the EBT scheme that is the subject of the ‘Big Tax Case’ interfered with the Scottish Premier League.
Harper McLeod should take a look at Nerlinger’s contract filed with the SFA. Next they should obtain Nerlinger’s contract documents and payment history from Rangers FC (IA)’s administrators. Comparing the contract to the payment history alone will expose payments of well in excess of £1 million that are not listed on his SFA-registered contract. There is your prima facie case, Mr. Doncaster. There is no need to investigate any further to demonstrate that Rangers have a case to answer and that an independent inquiry is required.
It seems clear that Doncaster just does not care about the rules. He just wants a Rangers in the SPL next season. My thoughts on how this will most likely end are laid out below.
Talk of a CVA is just window dressing to appease the less realistic element of the Rangers support. Whyte can pledge his shares in the club for £2 safe in the knowledge that a CVA is not going to happen. (Strictly speaking, Whyte himself can always scupper a CVA).
We are heading for a newco of some description. The key point, Mr. Doncaster, is whether Craig Whyte’s floating charge is still meaningful. If it is (and people with more advanced legal training than me cannot find a consensus on whether it will be) Whyte will be content to let this drama unfold. His friends at Duff & Phelps will continue to potter about while reality continues to sink in with the wider Rangers support. In the end, Whyte will play his trump card and call in a receiver who will sell all of Rangers’ assets to a newco for a sum that will go entirely to Whyte- stuffing all of the other creditors. A plan to achieve this outcome would explain a lot of Duff & Phelps’ actions over the last few months.
If Whyte’s floating charge does not support a legitimate debt (and I expect some court drama over this point), then Rangers’ assets will be sold to a newco and the proceeds divided among the creditors. They will be lucky to receive 5p/£ even in this path, but they would not get more in a CVA anyway.
A newco of some form is inevitable. The liquidation of The Rangers Football Club plc is also inevitable. The debate is not over whether the newco will enter Scottish football, but over how. If Doncaster’s dream comes true, and newco-RFC just start playing in the SPL next season without any penalties, then Scottish football is dead.
There are many other possible formulae for a fair outcome. Many Rangers fans want the newco to start in SFL division 3 and play their way to their place in the SPL like anyone else. It is also possible to have the newco pay an “entry fee” over a number of years that would serve as a deterrent to others. It would also serve, to a degree, as compensation for the carnage wrought on the Scottish game by Rangers during the years of Murray’s excesses. There are lots of ways to arrive at a fair outcome. However, the money-men who might own newco-Rangers will not want that and Neil Doncaster has their interests at heart. Sport? Fans? Mere irritations.